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in them can acknowledge, that since evils must fall somewhere, it is not harder they should fall where they do, than elsewhere. By practice of this sort, and the habit of sympathizing with the good and ill successes of others, we may learn to estimate for ourselves from the manner wherein we have been used to estimate for them ; we may be convinced that what was right and equitable for them was the same for
and what was eligible for them was so to us: which would prevent our murmuring at being called upon to bear our share of the general burden, would give a lively feeling sense of remote good in the midst of present uneasiness, enable us to bear it patiently, help to support us in dangers, and teach us more willingly to undergo the same dicipline and wholesome severities we have exacted from others in kindness and sincere regard to their benefit.
Perhaps it may be thought that some enmity, contention, and selfishness is necessary in the world, to find us employment and keep our activity alive; for more than half the business of life lies in guarding against the attacks and encroachments of one another : and it it observable, that when people come into a situation of perfect ease and security, with nothing ever to vex or ruffle them, they quickly rust in idleness. This may be too true, as mankind is constituted, yet does not render it needful for a man to nourish ill humors in his own breast, to make work for himself and neighbors; for there will not want employment of that sort from the unreasonableness of others : be his Charity ever so perfect and diffusive, he will never, with all his endeavors and all the force of example and sympathy, bring an equitable disposition to prevail so generally, but there will still be unruly passions and greediness enough in the world to keep vigilance awake, and prevent activity from stagnating.
Nor need we fear the consequences, if it were possible to make Charity universal : the reason why it does not suffice to fill up our time is because in single persons at best it is imperfect, languid, unenlightened, confined, too feeble to act without aid of some other motive, and often degenerates into weakness: but were it general, it would become manly, judicious, discerning, habitual, and vigorous, engaging of itself, and expert in finding ways of exercising it. For by joining assistance we might improve one another's lights, far beyond what each of us can do singly, so as never to be at a loss how to proceed : and by mutual example and sympathy, we should strengthen our propensity to act for the best, so as never to want an incitement to do what appeared beneficial.
There is industry enough in quantity among mankind to answer all the purposes of life, but the greater part is misemployed in mischief or thrown away upon trifles; and that earnestness of desire which gives vigor to it, is generally derived from custom: a single person cannot so easily raise a liking by his own efforts as multitudes can draw others after them. Therefore were Charity and sellow-feeling to be the prevailing humor in the world, it would become fashionable and engaging to ride as many miles upon a public service as after a stinking fox; to bestow as much pains and contrivance upon the good and pleasure of others, as upon raising a name, or breeding race-horses, or procuring curiosities, or pursuing our own fantastic schemes. This would turn industry into its proper channel, where it would not overflow to make waste and do mischief, nor be lost among the barren sands of whimsy; but run all to the uses of mankind, employed in watering and cleansing, to quicken the growth of good works, and clear away those obstructions of fear, impatience, indolence, and indulgence, which disable us from pursuing our real advantages.
Thus whether we consider mankind in general, or societies, or particular persons, the virtues mutually aid, support, and nourish one another : Charity which is built firmest upon Faith and Prudence, improves them again in return, opens wider scenes of the divine beneficence to enlarge our Hope, encourages Fortitude and Temperance, and inspires an equitable temper and impartial justice to all; it eradicates vanity, clears the judgment, perfects discretion, and animates industry ; it insures peace of mind with selfsatisfaction, and makes us find immediate pleasure in contributing to the general good wherein our own is contained, thus advancing our interests effectually without holding them perpetually in con- a templation:
WHOEVER throws aside his reason, when he takes the Bible in hand, is like to make very little profit thereby : for the written word, I conceive, was not designed to supersede the use of reason, but to assist and put it into the right track for arriving at a sound judgment upon things of the utmost importance. This is particularly manifest 'in that passage, where we are instructed in the duty of Charity towards nur Neighbor: which being propounded as one of the two great commandments whcrcon hang all the law and the prophets, it was asked, But who is iny neighbor? Had the mind of the person making this question been clear and open, it would have suggested to him the proper answer, Every fellowcreature to 'whom I stand in a capacity of doing a kindness : but it seems his judgment had been darkened by some narrow prejudices, which to remove was all that was wanted; therefore the right answer was not dictated as from the chair of authority, but a case put which might naturally lead him to make it for himself. A certain man travelling from Jerusalem to Jericho, fell among thieves, who stripped him of all he had, and left him naked and wounded upon the road : a priest, and afterwards a Levite, coming that way, looked on him and passed by on the other side ; but a Samaritan, seeing his distress, alighted, poured oil into his wounds, set him on his own beast, and carried him to the inn, where he provided that all necessary care should be taken of him. Which of these was neighbor to him that fell among thieves? He that showed mercy to him. Then go thou and do likewise.
Now if we understand this parable literally, and confine ourselves to the direct and primary import of the words, it will teach us that a man becomes neighbor to another by doing him a service, nor stands in that relation to any to whom he has never been helpful; and the moral of it will be, that we ought to relieve the distressed for our own sakes, in order to become entitled to the offices of a good neighbor from them : an inference which how much it would redound to the honor of the teacher or improvement of the learner, I leave to every man's common sense to determine. But Jesus knew the person he had to deal with would put no such construction upon bis words; for his natural lights would show him that neighborhood must arise from the situation wherein men stand with respect to one another, not from their
manner of conducting themselves therein; and is correlative, so that no man can be neighbor to another without the other being likewise neighbor to him. Therefore the wounded traveller, by the circumstance of his distress, was really placed in as near a degree of neighborhood to the priest and the Levite as the Samaritan, though the latter only approved himself a neighbor by acting agreeably to that character, and was therefore proposed as a pattern for any who desire to fulfil the duties of good neighborhood.
And the case of a Jew and a Samaritan was chosen to show the relation the more comprehensive, for the Samaritans were regarded as schismatics, they had set up mount Gerizim for the place where God's name was to be worshipped in opposition to Sion, therefore there was as much hatred and detestation between them and the Jews, as religious feuds can inspire. I hope we can find nothing similar in our own times to illustrate by, but must take our idea from history, and may imagine their animosity as great as between a Jesuit and a Hugonot, a high Churchman and a Presbyterian of the last century. If then a Samaritan, a schismatic, a fanatical dog, an open enemy to God and his true Church, nevertheless be neighbor to an orthodox Jew when in want of each other's assistance, surely the same relation must subsist between every two human creatures upon earth in the like situation.
2. The term neighbor was the properest to distinguish the object of our good offices, because it arises from situation, not from personal character: a brother must always continue such wherever he goes, nor is it possible for any one who was not born of the same parents, to become a brother afterwards; but there is a possibility that any person, however remote, may come to live at the next door. Therefore our Charity must be universal, our disposition and good-will extend alike to all, because else there might be some who could never come into a situation entitling: them to receive the effects of it, and we might possibly have a neighbor to whom we should owe no duties of good neighborhood : but our immediate attention and exercises of Charity must stand confined by our opportunities, for where we can do no service, there and there only we owe none, yet we may still retain a good will though without power of rendering it effectual.
And here it will not be foreign to my principal design, that of harmonizing Reason and Revelation, to observe how well this doctrine tallies with that deduced by the light of nature in the two former Volumes, and explained in the first Chapter of this, where it appears that we are citizens of the universe, interested in all the good and evil befalling therein ; therefore our good wishes are
primarily due to the whole, and our first aim ought to be placed upon advancing the general stock of happiness. But we are too inconsiderable creatures to do anything for general service : our powers are small, our activity confined by time and place within a very narrow compass, which obliges us to contract our aim to points that we can reach. For since the good of the whole is made up of the aggregate of good among individuals, we shall contribute towards the one by every little addition we can make to the other: from whence it follows, that every perceptive creature, as being fellow-citizen of the same Universe, that falls within the sphere of our good offices, or in Scripture language becomes our neighbor, is the proper object of our endeavors.
But small as our powers are, they may affect more than one person, nor is neighborhood so confined as to include none but him, that lives at the next door : since then we may have several neighbors at the same time, we must not be so intent upon our duties to one, as to overlook all the rest. If my neighbor desires me to join with him in a concert of French horns, were I able I should be willing to oblige bim; but if I knew the noise would disturb. the whole street, it were more peighborly upon the whole to refuse him : or if he would project a building over my ground, that must prove an annoyance to others, I shall be a bad neighbor if I do not oppose him.
Neither does our duty to our neighbor exclude all regard to our own interest, but puts both upon an equal footing; for we are members of that neighborhood whose interests we are to cultivate, parts of that Whole whose advantages we are to pursue : we are commanded to love our neighbor as ourselves, not better than ourselves, nor solely, so as to reserve none for our own use. Hence, as observed in the Chapter above cited, the general rule parts into two main branches, Prudence and Benevolence, called in sacred style the wisdom of the serpent and innocence of the dove: the former prompts to hinder another from encroaching upon our share of happiness, the other withholds us from making encroachments upon his, for an encroachment on either side diminishes the common stock alike. Therefore in our dealings with another, we are to regard his good indifferently with our own, and take the course that will yield most of it to either; and in our transactions affecting several, we are to pursue those measures from whence the greater profit will redound upon the balance among the whole,
3. This it is which justifies all allowable contentions, oppositions, punishments, and severities, and recommends all laudable